DTV Primer

Chris Llana, Editor


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September 24, 2005 . . . updated 10/1/05

Not enough of one topic for a whole story, but the wheels of progress seem to be turning. Some odds and ends.

The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on September 22 entitled "Communications in a Disaster" in which the pressing need for additional spectrum for emergency response agencies came up. Senator McCain took the occasion to argue for speeding Congressional action on the DTV transition and an early return of broadcasters' analog-TV spectrum.

There will be another hearing on September 29 about interoperability of public safety agencies' radios--more pressure for an early end to the transition. Or at least a strong argument against delaying it past the proposed end-2008 date. Joe Barton's House Energy and Commerce Committee will also be holding a hearing on the 29th. Then more action October 19 and the week following.

And let's not forget the October 12 meeting of the FCC's Commissioners--another chance for them to announce a decision on mandated digital tuners in small TVs.

Sony is in the middle of a corporate restructuring. It's still full speed ahead with Blu-ray Disc, but they are closing 11 plants, cutting 7 percent of the workforce, and eliminating unprofitable product lines. HDTV is in; next-gen flat-panel OLED TVs are in (organic light emitting diodes); traditional CRT TVs are out.

Verizon is now in the TV (multi-channel video programming distribution) business. Up to now, there was over-the-air TV, cable TV, and satellite TV. Now people can get their TV from telephone companies via fiber optic cable. Verizon has dubbed it FiOS TV. Initially offered in only one small town in Texas, Verizon is working to expand the service to other parts of Texas and to other states.

Last month's Sound and Vision magazine's print review of the Mitsubishi 52" 1080p DLP set is now online. This is the first review I've seen of a set using Texas Instruments' new 1080p DLP chip. Judging from the review, apparently it works.

And this month's Sound and Vision reviews the new HP Pavilion 65" 1080p DLP set. They like it! Click on this link.

Canon seems to be hedging its bets on TV technologies. It has been developing SED flat-panel displays with Toshiba for a number of years (expected to go on the market in 2006), and has now announced that it will substantially boost its R&D spending on OLED flat-panel displays, which have shown great promise. Canon is also reportedly working on rear-projection TV technology. A new name in TV?